Conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education were defiant May 19 as a parade of critics came before them, most urging a fresh rewrite of new classroom social studies guidelines and a delay of a scheduled vote to adopt them, reports the Associated Press. Critics—including the president of the NAACP, a former U.S. education secretary, and the committee that wrote the draft guidelines being edited by the board—complained that the proposal has become a vehicle for political ideology, has watered down the teaching of the civil rights movement and slavery, and reveals a lack of historical knowledge from the board. The standards will guide how history and social studies are taught to some 4.8 million public school students over the next 10 years. “Of course it’s political,” Republican David Bradley said to one critic who complained that the process was too focused on politics rather than history. “So what’s your solution? Would you support a benevolent dictator?” A record 206 people had signed up to testify at the May 19 hearing. Officials have indicated they’ll proceed with the vote, scheduled for May 21. The standards, which will form the basis of state tests, also could be used by textbook publishers who develop materials nationwide, because Texas is one of the nation’s largest textbook markets…

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staff and wire services reports